Michigan Lacrosse Preview

Submitted by Tim on February 26th, 2010 at 11:53 PM

helmet-logo.gifThe Michigan lacrosse team finally hits the field for the 2010 season on Saturday, as they head to Tucson, Arizona to take on the Arizona Wildcats in the first game of their 3-game road trip over spring break. They'll also take on Arizona State in Tempe and BYU in Provo.

The Wolverines compete in the MCLA, the country's top organization for club teams. They are the two-time defending National Champions, and look to extend their 40-game winning streak into the new campaign. Michigan hasn't lost since May 16, 2007 - more than 1,000 days.

Team

Attack

Key Losses: Riley Kearns, Wes McGowan

Key Returners: Kevin Zorovich, Trevor Yealy, Clark McIntyre, Josh Ein

Newcomers: Zach Dauch, Thomas Paras

Trevor Yealy is the star of the Michigan attack, racking up outstanding goal totals each of the past two years. Last year, he led the MCLA with 4.5 goals per game, including a program-record 11 against Minnesota-Duluth, on his way to All-American and team offensive MVP honors. He's just a junior, so his best days may even be ahead of him. Kevin Zorovich, Michigan's second-leading scorer from last year and a 3rd-Team All-American, missed the pre-season with an injury, but is expected to be back in the lineup by regular season play. He was last year's team MVP. Freshman Thomas Paras only participated in the East-West scrimmage and the final pre-season game, but he impressed in each, totaling five total preseason goals.

Midfield

Key Losses: Aaron Hodari, Peter Vasher

Key Returners: Jamison Goldberg, Matt Asperheim (LSM), Anthony Hrusovsky, Michael Bartomioli, David Rogers, Svet Tintchev

Newcomers: Max Greenspan (LSM), Matt Joseph, Matthew Levy (RS), Brian Greiner (RPI transfer), Willie Steenland, Sean Sutton, Joey Hrusovsky, Brian O'Callaghan (LSM), Harrison Silver, Lee Boshes (LSM), Nick Asher

Though the Wolverines bring in a huge class of midfielders, the majority of their production from the middies returns from last year. Perhaps the most important three are Michigan's senior captains, Michael Bartomioli, David Rogers, and Svet Tintchev. Long Stick Midfielder Matt Asperheim collected 42 ground balls last year. A bunch of newcomers will join the team as well, including Anthony Hrusovsky's younger brother Joey.

Defense

Key Losses: Zach Elyachar, James Payer, Jim Petoskey

Key Returners: Zach Mueller, Jordan Bargas, Harry Freid, Bob Diehl, Justin Burgin

Newcomers: Theo Lederfine Paskal, Matt Rizzo, JD Johnson, Pat Grogan, Forest Cox

Zach Elyachar was a 2nd-Team All-American and the squad's defensive MVP, so he will be a big loss, along with Jim Petoskey. However, the Wolverines have younger players ready to step up. Harry Freid was a 1st-Team All-American last year, and Bob Diehl was named last year's most improved player (all the while notching the team's highest Grade Point Average). Theo Lederfine Paskal and JD Johnson are just freshmen, but got some good minutes in the preseason.

Goal

Key Losses: None

Key Returners: Andrew Fowler, Mark Stone

Newcomers: Conor McGee, Cy Abdelnour

Andrew Fowler and Mark Stone split time in the net last year, with Fowler having the slight edge as the #1 guy (he played the entire National Championship game, despite a rough first half). Fowler missed a few games last year with a foot injury, but bother guys have been healthy through the preseason. Conor McGee and Cy Abdelnour bolster an already-strong unit.

Faceoffs

Key Losses: None

Key Returners: David Reinhard, Edward Ernst

Newcomers: None

Senior David Reinhard was one of the best faceoff men in the MCLA last year, and was named a 1st-Team All-American specialist. He won 68.4% of his draws. Unsurprisingly, he also collected the most ground balls on the team, amassing 180 GBs. His backup, sophomore Edward Ernst, won over 60% of his faceoffs last year as well.

Schedule breakdown after the jump.

Schedule

@ Arizona
Preseason #29 (#4 others receiving votes)
The Laxcats went 4-5 with 6 cancellations last year, according to their MCLA website (I have no idea if that's accurate, but I'd guess not). They lost their top 3 scorers from last year, and midfielder Alex Beauchamp is the top scorer among returning players. Top goalie Cooper Robbins returns from last year's squad. Michigan assistant Ken Broschart is the former head coach of Arizona's team. Last season, Michigan defeated the Laxcats 14-3 in San Diego.

@ Arizona State
The Sun Devils canceled their entire 2009 season, because they were found to be in violation of their school's Student Code of Conduct and Sports Club Code of Conduct. In their last season of competition, they lost in the 2008 MCLA National Tournament semifinals.

@ BYU
Preseason #2
The Cougars lost their longtime coach Jason Lamb, who was let go by the school in an apparent cost-cutting move. They finished last year in the MCLA semifinals, falling to Chapman. The 2010 squad returns 2009 1st-Team All-Americans midfielder Elliot Grow (the national pre-season Player of the Year) and defenseman Jason Arias, along with 3rd-Team All-American LSM Britton Cone. Last year, Michigan defeated the Cougars 14-11 in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

Simon Fraser
Preseason #4
Simon Fraser, the only Canadian team in the MCLA, returns a strong unit from a team that lost to Chapman in the MCLA quarterfinals last year. They return 2009 1st-Team All-Americans in attack Ben Towner and midfielder Russell Thomas, along with Second-Teamers attack Adam Foss and faceoff specialist Ben Johnson. This seems to be one of the more experienced (and talented) teams in the MCLA this season. Michigan is fortunate to play them at home, especially in the home opener.

@ Eastern Michigan*
Eastern Michigan is the conference opener for Michigan, and one they should expect to win easily. Last year, the Eagles went 3-4 against MCLA D-1 competition, including a 33-8 drubbing at the hands of the Wolverines.

Oregon
Preseason #16
The Ducks finished last season 11-7, falling in the PNCLL Conference tournament to Simon Fraser. They made the MCLA Tournament, but fell 12-3 to BYU in the first round. This game will be played in Fort Worth at the Patriot Cup event, on the campus of SMU.

@ Minnesota-Duluth
Preseason #5
Though Duluth had a strong team last year, Michigan managed to beat them 18-10. This game will be away from the friendly confines of Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, upping the degree of difficulty.

Western Michigan
The Broncos were a bottom-tier CCLA team last year, and there's no reason to expect that to change. They should be a welcome break for a MIchigan team coming off back-to-back games away from home against top teams.

Central Michigan
The Chippewas are a middle-of-the-pack CCLA team, meaning they don't typically make a whole lot of noise nationally. They dropped two games to Michigan last year, by scores of 21-4 and 20-6.

@ Colorado
Preseason #6
Colorado has a new headman this year in Pete Stevenson, but they are still a conference and national contender out of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference. They have an experienced and talented team that can help them get there. They are seeking their first conference crown. Collegelax.us Preview.

@ Colorado State
Preseason #11
Colorado State has a young team, with 14 freshmen on a squad of 45 (nearly a third of the team). However, they are still expected to be among the stronger squads in their conference. They play a tough non-conference schedule (including the contest against the Wolverines).

Purdue
The Boilermakers play in the GRLC, and they finished 2-4 in conference last season (6-5 overall). They went 1-2 against opponents they had in common with Michigan, beating only Western Michigan.

@ Michigan State
Preseason #19
The Spartans started their season with a runner-up finish at the Southern shootout. They are one of the few CCLA teams that is competitive on a national level, finishing 11-4 last season. This game will be played at a neutral site at Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids

Outlook

yealy.jpg

To understand just how dominant Michigan was last year (aside from the ease with which they dispatched opponents), looking at their final margins in a few key categories should shed a little light. They scored 312 total goals to opponents' 118, for an average score of 15.6-5.9, collected nearly twice as many ground balls (for those who don't know what that means, think collecting a loose puck in hockey), and won more than two-thirds of faceoffs.

The Wolverines look to extend that streak of dominance, relying on their tough 10-man ride and explosive scoring options to take down any team to stand in their way. They're the unanimous favorite in the CCLA, and are the pre-season #1 in all the MCLA. They're not complacent though, challenging themselves with non-conference games against the pre-season #2, #4, #16, #5, #6, #11, and #29 - all but two of those games away from Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

Can they remain undefeated? It's one hell of a tall task, but then it was last year as well, and the Wolverines managed to pull it off. Even if they drop a regular season game at some point this year, they'll likely still be a favorite to threepeat as National Champions.

For live updates from games, follow the team on Twitter @UmichLacrosse.

Comments

chitownblue2

February 27th, 2010 at 12:13 AM ^

Thanks for the preview, Tim. Is Chapman still thought to be a power? I was hoping for another game against them - both of the times they played Chapman were great games.

Also, how have they looked in the preseason? In the past, they got some DI teams in for scrimmages - did they do that again this year?

Tim

February 27th, 2010 at 8:54 AM ^

Yeah, Chapman is the preseason #2 team. Though Michigan doesn't have them on the schedule, they have a really tough row to hoe outside the conference still, taking on seemingly everyone else in the top 10 except Florida State (the rankings have changed a bit since the preseason, so bear with me if that isn't 100% accurate).

In the preseason they looked pretty good. They absolutely dominated Bellarmine, a fully-funded D-1 squad, and managed to beat a couple D-3 squads as well - though those games didn't come without their struggles.

They've been fighting through a few injuries in the preseason (Reinhard missed a few weeks of practice and the East/West scrimmage with an ankle injury, Zorovich didn't play in any of the scrimmages and I'm not sure how much he's been practicing in between ), but if they are healthy now, they should be a strong, strong team.

I'm excited for the home opener against Simon Fraser, because inviting a top team into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse is always exciting, and the level of play among the top teams is always very good. There's also the small fact that it's the home opener as well.

joeburner82

February 27th, 2010 at 12:22 AM ^

I love MGOBLOG and visit the site at least 5 times a day! However, lacrosse...really?? Does anyone really care? I would rather watch the ladies basketball team play a double header. I know a lot of people around U of M are from the east coast and have a stick up their ass, but lacrosse coverage belongs on the Harvard, Yale, and Duke blogs. I will look foward to Michigan football talk on the next posting.

weasel3216

February 27th, 2010 at 5:28 AM ^

I would also say that the University cares a lot about the lacrosse program. The fact that they are finalizing the plans to build the largest lacrosse facilities in the college ranks speaks to how much the University cares about this program.

The program is the face of Adidas lacrosse, this should not even have club around it. The team is ran exactly the same way that many NCAA D-I programs are run. They are always pushing themselves by scrimmaging the best out there, i think it was two or three years ago they played Army and John Hopkins (compare Michigan in football to John Hopkins in lacrosse) in the fall. Learn something before you make a dumb ass comment again.

WolverBean

March 1st, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

is to simply not click on the articles you don't have any interest in reading.

I'll even give you an analogy: although I live in California, I often read the New York Times as a source of daily news. Now, because I am not, and have never been, a New York resident, I really don't care much about what's the latest with NY Gov. David Paterson (about whom there has been much lately). Now, I could go to all the NYT articles about him, and leave snide remarks in the comments sections decrying the Times' coverage of an issue I don't care about. But I do not do this, for three reasons:
1. I recognize that while I do not care, others in the paper's core demographic do (parallel: there are many Michigan fans who do care about our Lacrosse team).
2. Doing so would be pointless - the paper is going to continue to cover issues that it thinks are worth covering (as will MGoBlog).
3. It would make me look like an asshole.

In conclusion, if you don't like lacrosse, tough. Some of us do, and the mature course of action is to accept this and just ignore the lacrosse coverage you aren't interested in.

joeburner82

February 27th, 2010 at 5:10 AM ^

Soccer sucks! We all know it is is impossible to watch. Although, there is a sport that is worse than soccer. It is called Lacrosse. I would rather watch the Ohio State football team progress through spring drills than think about lacrosse...that is how much lacrosse sucks!

DayMan

February 27th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

Must be a baseball fan...

Sorry to tell you but you're part of a community here that has overwhelmingly voted to continue coverage of a lacrosse team that likely has a big future at this university. I wouldn't be surprised if lacrosse becomes THE spring sport at Michigan (if it isn't already, since it gets more fans than all sports other than football, basketball and hockey). So, expect to see more of this for a long time to come.

DayMan

February 27th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

Fair enough, just my reaction from getting years of hate from baseball players.

I wouldn't bet against lacrosse becoming a major spring sport. College baseball has to compete for the best players with minor and major league baseball and lacrosse will not have to deal with that. There is barely even major league lacrosse, let alone minors.

Regardless, my comment is more directed at joeburner, who is simply a hater and clearly not supportive of Michigan athletics in general. It's tough to consider someone a Michigan fan who goes out of his way to disrespect those sports that don't garner all that much attention.

MGoShoe

March 1st, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

...although I apologize to all the other clueless maroons out there because you're making them look really bad.

Apparently you aren't aware that the proprietor of this here Michigan sports web log is a major soccer afficianado and has already laid out what the site is "About".

So what is this place? It's a somewhat comprehensive Michigan sports blog that promises to cover football, hockey, basketball, baseball, and all other Michigan sports in various levels of detail.

He's even assigned one of his associate bloggers to cover non-revenue sports like lacrosse and soccer. As such, there is quite a bit of coverage about things other than football and basketball, especially when those teams do something particularly noteworthy.

So I extend my hand to you. Rejoin the community by refraining from such petulance or go away.

IBleedMaizeNBlue

February 27th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

Thanks for the preview Tim. I was hoping the comments would be more than "Durrr... durrr.. durrrr LACROSSE?!" but I'm largely not surprised.

If any of you all reading this board get an opportunity to catch a game this year, I highly recommend doing so. Our lax team is the best a club varsity lacrosse team can be: '08 and '09 national champions, and consistent winners of their conference, the CCLA. The level of is on par with DI lacrosse, even without scholarships. This isn't baby stuff. The only reason they're not a varsity team already (like Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame have) is Title IX, politics and $.

http://mgobluelacrosse.com/

Intermountain Alum

February 27th, 2010 at 2:00 PM ^

Definitely attend a game if you have the opportunity. Two years ago, the Salt Lake City alumni drove into the heart of darkness of Utah County/Provo to watch the then ranked #2 Michigan squad beat the then ranked #1 BYU Cougars on their way to the national championship. We even managed to have a proper Michigan tailgate on the BYU campus. Between the athletes' parents and those of us from Salt Lake City, we managed to turn an away game into a neutral field I'd like to think. (Lacrosse is huge at BYU and in Utah; I'd like to think that the crowd was a slight Michigan lean, at least on a decibel level.) The athletes and coaches went out of their way to thank us, but we were the ones thankful and most appreciative of the athletes' and coaches' dedication, effort and victory over BYU, which, at least if you live in Utah, ranks only behind victories over OSU and MSU.

So, go and cheer, it's a terrific game and an outstanding program. We look forward to cheering the team on again next Saturday against BYU. Go Blue!

Old Blue

February 27th, 2010 at 9:48 AM ^

Thank you, thank you, thank you. More lacrosse coverage. Keep ignoring all the myopic robots (football, football, basketball, football, hock...oops, football, football) who refuse to break out of the mainstream. Lacrosse is the oldest sport in America. It's also the fastest growing sport in America. To say it is a just an East Coast sport is simply wrong these days. California has more HS teams than New York. Michigan has over 100 high school teams and growing quickly. There are now more HS lacrosse players in Michigan than HS hockey players. The NCAA lacrosse championships are the best attended NCAA post-season championship out of all sports except men's basketball.

Most importantly, Ohio State and Notre Dame both have big-time D1 teams. Dave Brandon - how about finding a way to make it happen at Michigan?

chitownblue2

February 27th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

The primary obstacle right now is sort of two-fold:

First, they would need to promote another club Women's team - which would likely be Women's lacrosse (who is good in their own right, but not as successful as the men).

Second, they'd need to fund the two sports. Now, it's only about 24.5 additional scholarships between the two sports (nobody is getting a full-ride in D-I Lacrosse), which is a drop in the AD's annual budget, but with some uncertainty surrounding the AD's cash-cow (football) combined with debt payments on all the facility upgrades, I'd be surprised if we see the AD make a substantial investment in 2 more non-revenue sports right now.

Sebie

February 27th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

Is the lacross team going to switch to the new fieldhouse in the future? Since the field in Oosterbonn has a sand pit in one endzone it seems like a good move to make.

S.Everitt

March 3rd, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

Chitownblue2:

Each D I men's lacrosse team, assuming it is fully funded, is entitled to 12.6 scholarships. These must be distributed over approximately 45 players. Although there are only 10 players on the field at one time, it takes 45 players to run a coherent practice. Most players don't get any aid and it is very rare that anyone gets a full ride.

I am doing the public address for the M v. ASU game tonight. The ASU coach is going to be displeased because I am bringing my lucky M hat ('97 ND game, aka "the catch" and '98 Rose Bowl)out of retirement for the occasion.